Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce

Print

White beans are so versatile. We usually have several cans ready to go and at least a pound or two of dried beans in the pantry.

This is a simple baked bean dish, with the beans first cooked in simmering water and then baked in a tomato sauce, flavored with bacon and sage, sweetened with honey, and spiced up with some chile flakes.

You could also use pancetta in place of the bacon, or rosemary instead of sage. If you swap out molasses for the honey you’ll have something a lot closer to Boston baked beans.

I learned a useful bit of cooking information recently from reading Shirley Corriher’s CookWise, and that is that both sugar and calcium will keep beans from softening. Which is why if you are cooking with hard water, you may find your beans taking a lot longer than you might expect to cook to tenderness.

Molasses and brown sugar contain calcium which is why you can cook a pot of baked beans with molasses all day and the beans still retain their shape.

Sugar naturally occurs in tomatoes and in onions, so once the beans go in the sauce in the following recipe, they will take a long time to soften if they aren’t already cooked.

Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce Recipe

Print
  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10 as a side

If you want to save time, you can used canned beans instead of dry. Use 3 or 4 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed and proceed to step 3. If you want a vegetarian version, skip the bacon, increase the olive oil, and use vegetable stock.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry cannellini, borlotti or Great Northern beans
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 pound bacon or pancetta, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage, minced (can sub fresh rosemary)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chile flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock (use gluten-free stock for gluten-free version)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

1 Soak the beans in water: Pre-soak the beans, either by covering with two inches of water and soaking overnight, or by pouring boiling water over them and soaking them for an hour.

2 Drain beans, cover with water, cook until tender: Drain the beans and put them in a medium-sized pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook until the beans are just soft enough to eat, about 1 hour, give or take 15 minutes or so, depending on how old the beans are (older beans will take longer to cook).

3 Cook bacon or pancetta: Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a 3 or 4 quart heavy-bottomed, oven-proof, lidded pot such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon or pancetta and cook slowly until lightly browned and crispy.

baked-beans-tomato-sauce-1.jpg baked-beans-tomato-sauce-2.jpg

4 Sauté onions: Add the chopped onions and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until the onions begin to brown. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

5 Add garlic, chili flakes, sage, then add tomatoes and stock: Add the garlic, chile flakes and sage and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the honey and tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Add the tomatoes or tomato sauce and the stock. Bring to a simmer. Taste for salt and add some if needed.

baked-beans-tomato-sauce-3.jpg baked-beans-tomato-sauce-4.jpg

6 Add the beans, cover, cook in oven: Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Stir well. Cover the pot and cook in the oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. If still a bit wet, remove the cover and cook for 15 minutes more.

 

baked-beans-tomato-sauce-5.jpg baked-beans-tomato-sauce-6.jpg

Note that the cooking time will depend on several things, the most important being how thoroughly the beans were cooked to begin with when they were simmered.

If the beans are still a bit hard when they go in the oven, it may take several hours to soften them, once the tomato and honey have been added.

7 Stir in parsley and balsamic vinegar: Right before serving, gently stir in the chopped parsley and balsamic vinegar. Taste for salt, add more if needed to taste.

Serve either hot or at room temperature.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Print

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Links:

Stovetop cannellini beans with tomatoes - from Bleeding Espresso

Slow cooked Boston Baked Beans here on Simply Recipes

Spicy, Citrusy Black Beans here on Simply Recipes

Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce

 

Never miss a recipe!

Subscribe to Simply Recipes free via email:

Showing 4 of 19 Comments

  • Tatiana

    Have you or anyone tried canning this recipe?

  • Peace Peace

    Hello.
    I would like to ask about using Balsamic Vinegar. Can I use the white vinegar instead of? Thank you so much.

  • natasaha

    this helped me out because all I had in the cupboard was a tin of cheap baked beans , some fresh sage reduced, some tomato sauce my friend gave me, chilly power , rosemary, and a jacket potato. I would not know these things would go well together. thanks, coz Im eating it now. nice.

  • Mark

    Made a vegetarian version of this a couple of times. I used ghee (clarified butter) instead of the oil\fat from the bacon, which stops the beans from tasting ‘thin’ (there is a bit of a pun in there!) and added some intensity to substitute for the bacon flavour with a handful of sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly.

    Very popular with everyone, I must say.

    Thank you!

  • naomi

    I want to use a glut of fresh tomatoes also butter beans . can these be used ? also does it freeze ?

View Responses / View More Comments / Leave a Comment